|11th December 2007, 16:56||#16|
Join Date: Jun 2007
Thanked: 11 Times
|11th December 2007, 18:39||#18|
Offroad Training Day at Kelambakkam Quarry - Part 2
This is Part Two. All images are shot by tifosikrishna.
The second circuit was different, there were hardly any rocks or crevices. But it involved climbing and getting off two massive inclines that were anything but smooth. One of the inclines had 10-15ft deep gorges on both sides. Miss your tyre footing, the Jeep would topple. We had to do this circuit from clockwise and anti-clockwise direction to fully master it.
This was bottle on the Classic.
This is Srinath on his LC prado.
As Srinath climbed with his LC, he made a mistake of stopping a wee little early. As a result he lost momentum and couldnít get his rear tyres across. In fact the LC became sitting duck on a small mound, no amount of pushing, revving or prodding helped.
King of the hill.
Pushing it back didnít work.
But there was no reason to panic, in fact Srinath kept a cool head trusting Arka to save the day, and he did.
Srinath keeping a cool head.
The winch cable is being set.
Now it is ready.
The winch motor starts and the LC has left the hill.
Although we lost about 30 minutes in this rescue operation, it was an unexpected by important lesson demonstrating the importance of a winch in off-roading.
When I started on this circuit, I had Lateef as the co-pilot. Once he discovered I couldnít understand Tamil, he resorted to one word commands like left and right. Since there was gorge on both sides, it was important to get it exactly right. But with all the experts around me I was pretty confident and did this circuit perfectly.
This is me climbing.
This is me descending.
Since we lost time, not everybody could try this circuit, we soon left for the most challenging part of the trip. Here we had to climb down almost half KM long rocky twisting road. Since it was too steep and rocky, there was no question of a photographer walking down the path. And the Jeeps were bouncing so hard on rocks, I am not sure how many pulled out their camera. Except the following tame part of the road, I donít have any photo of the most difficult part of the trail. If anybody took a photo here, please post it.
The tamer part of the path. It is steeper than it looks here, should have shot this sitting down.
This was the most challenging trail of the day, it was surely not like crossing one ditch, it was just continuous rock hopping with 3 people in the back. Thankfully Arka was again sitting next to me and was giving non-stop commentary and advice. Never touch brake, donít over-revv, turn into the tilt, swallow the ditch, in fact donít touch anything. Actually I kept my foot off all the foot pedals, no clutch, no brake, no accelerator. The Jeep kept going down in 1st gear 4L mode just using gravity. The input I provided was steering, considering it was no power steering, and on rocks, it kept me really busy. Few times I did get stuck and got the ignition switch off. This is where I was taught how to recover from a stuck situation. Leave the jeep in gear, leave the clutch alone, crank the engine and press acceleration. I had to do this few times in both 1st and reverse gear depending on my stuck situation.
Our destination was to reach the bottom of this quarry and find water.
As we almost reached the bottom of the quarry, we now had one last challenge to cross. By this time Arka was confident enough to let me try it first without any co-pilot, I was the lead Jeep at this time. I walked the path along with him and he showed the best path to take it.
Here is the challenge, I need to climb this down.
Heh, heh, piece of cake.
This is the end of part two.
Last edited by Samurai : 22nd February 2008 at 08:54.
|11th December 2007, 20:12||#19|
Join Date: Apr 2007
Thanked: 12 Times
|11th December 2007, 20:19||#20|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Mar 2005
Thanked: 1,699 Times
Thats a funny looking thread pattern on the MM540 tire. (almost looks like a racing tire) What brand is it? In some pictures, it almost looks bald.
PS: The Prado looks awesome.
|11th December 2007, 20:20||#21|
Join Date: Mar 2006
Thanked: 81 Times
Experience of a lifetime
Excellent report Samurai and a good job in using tifosi's photos at the right place - absolutely wonderful
I was also one of the spectators who got bitten by the 4X4 bug and oh my god what an experience it was. No visibility of the tarmac(?) below due to the high ground clearance of the MM540 and no power steering and terms like 1st gear - High, 1st gear -Low or better use 2nd Gear low, mind boggling. The (C)rude shock of the MM540 jolted most of our senses. Absolutely no creature comforts.Latif was also with me directing and i just dont know how i finished the terrain.
But overall you could see the entire group following Arka's advices and technical details meticulously and all of us were spellbound by what we saw.
We had all the works for us. The landcruiser sitting out on the peak being pulled up by a winch and the Prowler had a problem which left it immobile. No 2WD or 4WD working. We could see Arka's foresight in his preparedness for such unexpected eventualities. All the tools required were available handy and thanks to him there was no anxiety among the group. Nicely organised and he deserves a pat on his back for this.
And as a bonus i had to drive Patrick's jeep back to Chennai from Mahabs. A dream journey on the East Coast Road in an Open Top Jeep (Air in Hair or Hair in air, anyways).
I repeat, it was an experience of a life time, for me
Let me see if i can remember the names
9.Mandeep + 2friends
13.Dr.Jones & his wife
And last but not the least Latif.
|11th December 2007, 20:37||#22|
Offroad Training Day at Kelambakkam Quarry - Part 3
This is the third and final part, all images are by tifosikrishna
As we entered the bottom of the quarry, we had a welcoming sight, a long track of shade and strong cool wind. Almost all our water bottles were empty, and we were all thirsty. The cool shade made up for lack of water. We started clicking away to glory at this glorious place. But only Krishna had real wide angle lens (10-22mm), so rest of us had to satisfy ourselves with lesser frames. Meanwhile I for the first time met another soul with Olympus E-500 in Madan. Once I actually reached for his camera thinking it was mine.
Misson accomplished smile (except for the climb back on the same treacherous trail)
Headers and Esteem_lover relaxing while neoranjit looks on.
During all this I saw another drama unfolding at Dr.Jonesís Jeep. There seemed to be a mechanical problem. A nut inside the transfer case had fallen off. But we had a mechanic handy, so it took about an hour to fix that problem.
Arka discussing with Latif who is under the Jeep. Due to the massive GC, no ramp or jack was needed. Pugram and myself look about.
Dr.Jones (sunglass) and Madan.
After the Jeep got fixed, it was time to turn around. Meanwhile I contemplated what happened until then. This was a very efficiently planned expedition. All problems were anticipated and were handled easily. LC got stuck, and was pulled out using a winch. They even had gloves to handle the steel cable safely. The Prowler had a serious mechanical problem, but we had a mechanic handy for such emergencies. This mechanic was not a normal mechanic, he was a serious off-roader too, he was trained by Arka so that he can understand the different needs of this sport.
Esteem_lover and bottle getting ready to leave.
And we start back, Headers climbing the final challenge.
The LC left a little early since Srinath had to catch a flight. Madan left with him so that he can leave early in his Palio.
Back to the long winding rocky path, this time I had climb, I have no choice but press on the accelerator, but only to keep it steady.
Now Arka askes me to keep to 2nd gear on 4L because we need the momentum. The first gear will not give the steady momentum needed on this incline. We had come down in 1st on this slope since we needed the control. This was even scarier because I had to constantly tap on the accelerator, but keep it very controlled to avoid lurching it. I did get the ignition switch off couple of times, but again I used recovery techniques to get out. At one point I had to reverse 10ft while I was completely blind about what is behind. This is just after taking a sharp right turn on this extremely rocky path. The trail was too treacherous for anybody to get down and take snaps. There was another problem, Arka had early on instructed us click-happy crowd that safety comes first. Donít stop the Jeep on dangerous incline or slope to take photographs. So nobody could get down to take photos. I donít know if anybody took photos from the inside. So, sorry guys we canít prove how bad was this trail.
Once we reached the top of the quarry, I asked other Jeeps to stop and we continued in advance so that we can shoot this scene.
See the tiny Jeeps?
As we reached the base camp, we found Madan still around. His Palio front tyres were on slippery ground and it couldnít get out. Thatís what happens to 2WD vehicles around here. It just took a few large men to push it out.
The group photo: Neoranjit, Madan, bottle, Esteem_lover,Pugram,Nitrous,tifosikrishna,headers, Arka,Samurai,Mr&Mrs.Jones.
The next destination was food, it was already close to 3PM, and the folks decided to go to Moonraker restaurant in Mahabalipuram. Arka as usual expected me to drive, by this time I had no qualms. But he decided to take off with Nitrous on his Sumo. This time Krishna got in as passenger. It suddenly hit me, who is going to slot the 3rd gear? Holy cow! Anyway, Arka had already vanished. So I started off by postponing the problem, but had to stop immediately. The Jeep was still in 4L and I didnít know how to get it back to 2WD. The lever simply refused to move. As I looked around in panic, we spotted Latif still fussing around the Prowler, he was to be our rear seat passenger. I called him and told about the problem. He asked me to move forward in 1st gear slowly and managed to disengage the 4WD mode.
We pressed on, and I was still thinking about the 3rd gear. Then a thought occurred to me, this Jeep has no 5th gear. So what if I try to slot it like 5th gear instead of 3rd gear in the car. So I slotted it by pulling it lightly towards me, and it slotted perfectly. Hurray!
This time we drove extensively through villages and I had to change gears frequently, and I got it right every time in 3rd gear. The beast was finally tamed. Eventually we got back on the ECR and drove towards Mahabalipuram. Since I kept mostly around 50-55Kmph, we were the slowest of the bunch. It was almost 4:30PM when we reached Moonraker restaurant. We finally had our lunch between 5PM-6PM. We had some plans to go sand-bashing in the beach, but the failing light discouraged us. At this point we all broke up ending a wonderful day.
By this time I was really tired, didnít want to drive anymore. So Latif took over the driving, and I spent the whole drive back clarifying various off-roading issues with Arka. We dropped the Classic back in Patrickís garage, said farewell to E_L and Pugram after checking out Pugramís Logon.
I was dropped back in the Airport by Arka at 9:50PM and finally reached my broís home at Bangalore at 12:15AM. That was the end of one of the most exciting day of my life.
Last edited by Samurai : 22nd February 2008 at 08:55.
|11th December 2007, 20:42||#23|
Check the Jeep Specs: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indiancarpicture-572.html
I have become a big fan of this particular Jeep.
|11th December 2007, 21:49||#24|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Thanked: 75 Times
and thats bottle with his 1.6 style supervising us.
Last edited by madan80 : 11th December 2007 at 21:50.
|12th December 2007, 00:31||#26|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jul 2006
Thanked: 463 Times
he he he , nice excuse, the palio is no off roader. LOL.
@ Samurai, i hitched a ride in the sumoman's sumo, did not bring my poor old esteem.
I couldn't agree more with samurai that this day was one of the most exciting days of my life. When arka & headers said that all bhpians must complete the first challenge, i had no answers, it looked so damn difficult to my on road eyes. Samurai's line after he had completed this ' It is easier than it looks' gave me some confidence. And i did it & many others & in fact got so addicted that i would not let anyone else drive that jeep henceforth. full marks to arka & headers for arranging something like this. Arka's friend Patrick (none of us had seen) generously donated his beautiful jeep with a tank full of diesel just so that we (T-BHPians) could feel & enjoy an offroad experience. a big thank you to patrick too. pugram was having the time of his life driving patrick's jeep on the ECR , recollecting the scenes from the old tamil movies. lol.
Last edited by esteem_lover : 12th December 2007 at 00:33.
|12th December 2007, 01:16||#27|
One of the downside of being an active photographer is that you are never in the frame. You can never record your own action. This time I didn't have to worry about that since Krishna was around. But I didn't want him missed either, here is him in action. These are all from my camera.
This was Krishna, I couldn't get the face since I was shooting long. :-(
Shooting winch Setup.
Shooting the quarry in different angles.
Madan in action.
Pugram in action.
Nitrous in action, check that tyre in the air.
This shot will let you appreciate how high the LC was stuck.
Dr.Jones in action.
Rescue operation in a scenic background.
Headers Kush Huwa.
Nitrous poses for Shaadi.com
Neoranjit, Headers, bottle, E_L, Nitrous & Pugram.
Some close action shots.
|12th December 2007, 08:10||#28|
Join Date: Oct 2005
Thanked: 379 Times
your report as usual was interesting and complete in all respects.
Thanks to everyone else here for appreciating my effort.
|12th December 2007, 08:44||#29|
Join Date: Mar 2006
Thanked: 40 Times
@Samurai and Tifosi: Nice coverage. Fantastic pics and report.
Arka, Hats off to you!!! You Rock .
|12th December 2007, 09:30||#30|
this thread is excellent, and I have voted. samurai does a smashing job of telling the tale, and tifosi does an even better job with the pics.
I was hoping to see samurai's parting shot, but I suppose you were too busy having 4wheeled fun.
@arka- any chance of doing this closer to kerala? coimbatore for example